Musings from Home

Archive for March, 2012

A Plum(b) Win

Part of an occasional series on moving.

A few months ago, before we replaced all of the toilets in the house, Jim and I had a plumber come out for a free estimate on a few plumbing jobs we saw potentially coming down the pike. One of the things we asked him about was our whirlpool tub, which we have hardly ever used, but which leaked into the adjacent linen closet where the access panel is, the last time we filled it up. The plumber told us that if he investigated or fixed anything, he would have to charge us for a service call, but if the tub leaked, it would have to be replaced because fixing whirlpool tubs is just too expensive. We believed him.

So, as we began to think about moving and as it became a certainty, we started to investigate the cost and logistics of replacing the tub. And both are huge. Since the access panel is not near the plumbing connections, we would either have to go through the ceiling below (in the kitchen) or rip out the tile around the tub to get it out, which of course means re-tiling — not cheap.

We started to get more than a little freaked out as our time-frame for getting the house on the market shortened and the costs of things added up. At least a thousand dollars for a whirlpool tub, half that for a soaker tub. That doesn’t include the repair costs associated with accessing the existing tub.

And then sanity kicked in.

One day last week, Jim suggested that we actually pay a plumber for a service call to find out what exactly is causing the leak and what it would take to fix it. We had assumed this wouldn’t be possible because the access panel is on the other end of the tub from the plumbing, so they may not be able to see the problem without taking out the tile. But then Jim thought about snaking a tube in . . . He called the plumbing company we used for the new toilets (a different one from the free estimate) and was told yes, they can certainly take a look that way.

The plumber came out on Wednesday, opened the access panel and immediately told me there was a nut loose. As he tightened it, I commented that it would be nice if that’s all that were wrong. He replied that it may be. These tubs are very sensitive, he said.

Could this be real????? All we had to do was tighten a nut??? Please, please, please let this be the case.

The very nice and very skilled plumber filled up the tub, turned on the jets, and alas, no leak. Then very scientifically, just as I would have done it, he loosened the nut to the degree it had been, and what do you know? It started leaking.

Wow, oh wow, wowwy, wow! A whole passel of weights zoomed off of my shoulders. It’s amazing I didn’t float into the air! I could hardly keep from laughing; it was all so ridiculous, in a way. And I couldn’t wait to call Jim and ask him how much he loved me for this news (although of course, the idea to call the plumber was his).

The other really cool part of this story was the girls. Little Sapphire had never seen this tub on. Like I said, we hardly used it even before the leak issue. She was truly entranced with the swirling water when the plumber had the jets on and was looking in the access panel for a leak. She dipped her hand into the waves and squealed with delight. The plumber and I couldn’t resist grinning from ear to ear at that girl. And of course, she asked if she could take a bath in there. I told her maybe later.

That afternoon, Jim picked Emerald up from band practice and on the way home, told her about our good fortune. She walked in the door asking if she could relax in there that evening. After dinner, both girls piled into the jetted tub and giggled and dipped under the water, and giggled some more. You would’ve thought they were in a swimming pool. It was the best bath EVER!

I have a feeling that if our next house has a whirlpool tub, it will not be as unused as this one has been. 🙂

It was certainly a “w”in of a Wacky Wednesday.



Like many preschools, Sapphire’s school has the letter of the week, in which the kids learn about that week’s letter, the sound it makes, and words that begin with it. They have a story and a song of the week. This week is “W” week. For the first time ever, her teachers have decided to have Wacky Wednesday (today), a day on which the kids dress as wacky as they want to. They will have a contest to see which kid has dressed the wackiest, but all kids will get a prize. Sapphire has been so excited to show her friends her goofy look (she’s decided she doesn’t really like the word “wacky”). Yesterday, we batted around ideas, and last night we pulled her look together. She proudly modeled it for her dad and her sissy. She even slept in her wacky hairdo (except for the back part because it would’ve been too uncomfortable to sleep on). This morning, she woke up early, all ready to don her apparel. We added the final touches and voilà:

That’s one “goofy” outfit! 🙂 What would you wear for Wacky Day?

Nothing Wrong With Quiet

I came across a video yesterday that spoke to me. It’s a little on the long side, but its message is an important one. Even though I’m an introvert myself and I’m married to an introvert, I never gave this topic as much thought as I have raising our two daughters. One is most definitely an introvert. The other is a total extrovert. They are both fabulous and they have many of the same qualities and interests. But they are perceived differently by others and the world responds to them differently, not because of who they are but because of how they present themselves. There is much food for thought here. I hope you’ll take the time to watch. Have a fabulous Tuesday!

Don’t Speak

I really am not a big fan of making phone calls, especially ones to businesses. I don’t know why. I always do fine with them, but I just dread each time I have to do it. So as is my custom, I have been putting off making one this week. It’s not a big deal, I’ve been telling myself. Tuesday’s no different from Monday. Wednesday’s no different from Tuesday, and so on. Well, today was the day I was going to have to do it. Not that it’s a big deal call, but it is something we need done at some point in the near future. Today was it, no excuses, no more delays, no more finding other things to do instead.

So wouldn’t you know it? I woke up with laryngitis today. I can barely get a sentence out before my voice fades on me. This unexpected occurrence has allowed me to extend my procrastination into next week, where I’m sure it’ll linger again until Friday. 🙂

This is the third year in a row I’ve had laryngitis. I had had it a few times before that, but never every year. [And yes, I have had an endoscopy for an unrelated reason and my throat was fine.] I wonder if I’m being sent the message that I talk too much. 🙂

Anyway, for obvious reasons, this song has been in my head all morning.

I know, it has nothing to do with laryngitis, but “don’t speak” is exactly what I have to do today, so those lyrics are running a loop through my brain.

What sound track is your mind playing today?

P.S. My gross-out moment for the day: I was going to give the dogs fresh water outside on the deck. I noticed from the window that there was something in the water that looked like a small frog or a toad, so I went out there all prepared to shoo a critter away. Instead of a frog or similar creature, I found a dead mouse, complete with droppings. Yuck!

And poor doggies. I know that this occurred over night or early this morning when the dogs were inside, since I changed their water yesterday and checked it again later in the day, but I hope they did not drink from there this morning before I scrubbed out the dish and refilled it with fresh water. I’ll say it again: YUCK!

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Everybody Has a Dream

For the past 10 years, I have been a big fan of American Idol. This year, for some reason, I just haven’t been able to get into it. Maybe I have too many other things going on. Maybe I’m just bored with it after all these seasons. I don’t know.

My girls have also enjoyed it in past seasons, so we have it set up on DVR. The other night, we watched one of the shows from a couple of weeks ago when the field was narrowed from the semi-finalists to the top 13. We all suddenly had our favorites, although I certainly wasn’t as riveted as I have been in the past.

Last night, I was flipping channels and decided to check in with Idol. Since it was Billy Joel week and he is one of my all-time favorite singers/songwriters, I stuck around. To my surprise, there were two songs chosen last night that I had never heard before (I thought I knew all of Billy Joel’s songs). One of them, “Everybody Has a Dream”, sung by one of the younger contestants, really caught my attention. Not really because of her performance, although she certainly was one of the judge’s favorites. It was the lyrics that got me.

“Everybody has a dream . . .” I hadn’t thought about having a dream in a really long time. I mean, I have plenty of dreams (hopes, wishes) for my family and my children. Things like having opportunities, striving for their dreams, having happy futures. I also have hopes, dreams, prayers about health for all of us. And dreams about vacations and time spent together.

But do I still have a dream for me, as an individual? This question flew around my brain for a moment and then my long-term dream solidified into a vision. Yes, it’s still there and it’s still something I plan to go for in the next few years, once Sapphire is in school and we’re settled in our new home. It’s funny how it had slipped to the back of my mind.

I’m not going to divulge my dream just yet, but it was incredibly freeing and motivating to realize it still has a presence, if relegated to the side for a little while. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in the everyday and forget our distant, but oh so present dreams.

Thank you, Billy Joel and thank you, American Idol. My step is a little lighter today as I look beyond all the tasks at hand to someday.

Okay, your turn. Do you have a dream?

Down to Grout Level

Part I of an occasional series on moving.

When you start thinking about moving, you realize all of the things you have to do before you can put your house on the market. There are the things you’ve put off, like refreshing the paint on trim whose paint has seen better days, decluttering closets, and packing up the abundant knickknacks found throughout the house. There is also the deep cleaning, which through the winter has more or less been forgotten about.

This past Sunday was the day that I chose to tackle some of these deep cleaning projects. After spending an hour or so with Emerald going through her spring/summer clothes to determine which still fit her and what holes are now in her wardrobe (that kid just won’t stop growing 🙂 ), I spent most of the afternoon in the master bathroom with good cleansers, a scrub brush, and a toothbrush.

I scrubbed every inch of the grout in that room, mostly with the toothbrush (although I did use my nails and an emery board for the really crusted on gunk — likely hairspray). I washed down the base boards. And I did the routine weekly cleaning of the rest of the bathroom. I’ll tell you when I was done, I wanted to bar everyone from using that bathroom from now until we move. It sparkled!

And when I got up off of the floor (I was on my hands and knees scrubbing the grout), I noticed that every muscle in my body ached. I always forget what great exercise that kind of cleaning can be. It is also incredibly gratifying, in a way that my weekly cleaning never is.

Now to grab that momentum and move on to the other spring cleaning, preparing-to-move tasks. There are still many to go . . .

Enjoying Spring

After having been under the weather for close to two weeks and having a bad migraine on Wednesday, I awoke yesterday with some spring in my step (pun intended). I had missed spending time outside with Sapphire on the gorgeous spring-like days this week. She had been out in the yard every afternoon, but she was looking forward to the day I would join her (rather than watching through the window).

Yesterday was our day. We reprised our roles as pirates, played a quick game of horseshoes, and took a spin at fine art, with our driveway as the canvas.

We drew all of our favorite things about spring:

Sapphire wrote all of our names for the world (or our small neighborhood) to see.

And drew portraits of her daddy and her sissy.

After we were done, she posed among our creations.


And pointed out her very favorite drawing (at my request).

What a glorious afternoon! [Glorious? Not a word I usually use, but it sure does fit! :)]

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